I currently have a PS3, PS2, Wii, XBox 360 and an Amiga 1200 all connected to my TV
HMS Astute on Sea Trials
The article talks about the current problems with top level Chess (mainly that between the top 20 players in the world, there is a draw ratio of nearly 60%) and why this version of the game has been specifically designed to address them. This is not a game where somebody has had an idea and slapped it onto the game ("lets do Chess but in 3D", "lets do Chess but make it 3 player", etc.).
I'm not a great Chess player, but I recognise the sense in the thesis that any game which ends in a draw more than half of the time is fundamentally broken, and the suggestions for fixing it, by one of the great experts of game balancing, make sense to me.
And the rules are currently free to download. I've got a copy and am certainly interested in getting a set out and giving it a go.
I agree with the comment on that page:
It was the line "Chess 2 is the first one I know of that really looked at the game critically and asked: what are the problems that need to be addressed and how can we answer those problems?" that bugged me - it really did imply that nobody had ever had this idea before, or that those that had done so weren't worth considering. 960, for example, is a far simpler and more elegant attempt to answer many of the same problems and doesn't need any fancy implementations.
Chess 2 might be great, or it might not, but it seems over-hyped because so much which I read about Chess 2 (and the game's title itself) seems to be unaware that there already exist many chess variants created by people more intimately familiar & experienced with chess and its drawishness for strong players.
I'm also very turned off by the Sirlin-esque "duel" element: secret simultaneous decisions seem extremely contrary to the spirit of chess, the same as if it introduced random combat resolution, or dexterity flicking pieces, or acting/storytelling elements.
Still, I'd be curious to try it sometime.
The article (which I think is very well done, BTW) does talk about other variants, acknowledging what has come before, but adding that this seems to really be more about advancing chess instead of just being a variant.
That said, I agree with you about the duel aspect. The other two changes seem more organically in-line with Chess than this aspect. It feels a little tacked on. I fear that this would take me out of the game instead of making me feel more engaged. If my focus is on the board and suddenly I'm looking at my opponent and putting some stones in my hand, it feels like a different game.
Doesn't mean I'm not willing to try it or that I don't see how it can add a new level of excitement. It just feels like an odd fit to me.